PPP Holds Public Safety Levy Education Forum

Fire & Police 2

The following article was written by Sam Wildow of the Piqua Daily Call regarding the upcoming Public Safety Income Tax Levy.

PIQUA — Positively Promoting Piqua (PPP) held a public forum Wednesday evening to discuss Piqua’s public safety income tax levy that will add additional funds to the Piqua police and fire departments. The levy will be on the ballot Nov. 4. The importance of the forum was “to educate people and give them the right information,” said the Rev. Kazy Hinds, public chairperson for the campaign committee.

The public safety committee is looking to help city officials pass a 0.25 percent increase in order to keep six firefighters on staff as well as add five police officers to the Piqua Police Department. If passed, the city income tax will increase from 1.75 percent to 2 percent, however, the new tax revenue gained will be used solely for the Piqua Police and Fire Departments according to Hinds. No one else will be able to access this revenue. The campaign’s presentation cited the 2012 Census, stating that the average household in Piqua earning $39,000 per year will have to pay an extra $0.27 cents a day. They also used the example of a citizen making $30,000 per year, saying that individual “will pay an additional $75 per year or $1.44 per week.”

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant is what has been funding the positions of these six firefighters, but according to Fire Chief Mike Rindler, the SAFER Grant is not renewable as it is meant as a temporary solution versus a stable means of paying for these firefighters.

“When you call 9-1-1, you want us to help,” Rindler said at the meeting. “We don’t want to tell you, ‘sorry, we don’t do that.’” Rindler pointed out that the fire department does more than respond to fires and emergency medical situations as they also are able to handle threats of weapons of mass destruction, safety hazards that require a HAZMAT team, Interstate wreckage and spillage, confined space rescue where individuals may be trapped, high angle rope rescue, situations requiring a dive team or a river rescue, and so on according to Rindler.

According to the campaign’s presentation, “staffing is tied for lowest in the nation when compared to similar sized cities.” Piqua is also “nationally 8th highest in emergency calls and 10th lowest in spending,” according to Rindler.

“We could have as low as six people on duty,” Rindler said. “The passage of this (levy) allows us to have two more people, and that’s a big deal.” According to Rindler, if the fire department responds with less than four people to a fire, they are not able to go into the building to fight the fire. According to Rindler, there were “three incidents where no units were available” to respond before Piqua received money from the SAFER grant.

This levy will also add five additional police officers to police department. Police Chief Bruce Jamison pointed out that the minimum amount of officers that they may have on duty can be as low as three or four officers depending on the time of day. According to Jamison, “Piqua has the smallest number of officers in northern Miami Valley,” but “Piqua’s overall crime rate is the third-highest among cities our size.” Jamison has found that “FBI staff studies routinely find that Piqua should be staffed with 15 to 19 more officers.”

“It’s important to their (citizen’s) quality of life,” Jamison said. The levy campaign’s presentation stressed that the levy is about the safety and well-being of Piqua’s citizens, giving Piqua “a difference Piqua deserves” according to Jamison. These additional five officers will “add 29 hours of police protection every day,” Jamison said.

Jamison discussed the need for the added police protection, citing that Piqua is “7th in the state for rapes” as well as Piqua’s high property crime rate. “People have accepted that,” Jamison said, “and I don’t think they need to.” Detective Jeremy Webber discussed the growing heroin problem, linking this drug problem as the issue behind the high property crime rate. According to Webber, this problem affects everyone, whether it is through one’s property becoming stolen or damaged or through one’s children experimenting with drugs as individuals may first try opiates at age 12 and become addicted between the ages of 15 and 17.

The way to combat this issue is with “boots on the ground,” City Manager Gary Huff said. According to Huff, the city of Piqua lowering its crime rate and recommitting itself to public safety are actions Piqua needs to take “in order to move the city to a certain level of being able to have a reputation to attract businesses, to attract new investments.”

This issue will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot for Piqua residents to decide.

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Complete Streets Design Provides Many Economic Development Benefits

MJU_0161

Earlier this year, the City of Piqua was recognized for having one of the Top Ten Complete Streets Policies adopted in the entire nation in 2013.  Complete Street design provides many benefits to the local economy which are highlighted in this Blog.  It is imperative that the City of Piqua utilize innovative approaches to attract new business and help existing business expansion, encourage young professionals to locate here to fill needed job openings, and promote visitors to experience the community.  All these reasons are important economic development opportunities.

The following information is provided by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Complete Streets stimulate the local economy

Making it easier for residents and visitors to take transit, walk, or bike to their destinations can help stimulate the local economy. People living in Dallas, TX save an average of $9,026 annually by switching from driving to taking transit, and those in Cleveland, OH save an average of $9,576. The total savings from biking, walking, or taking transit instead of driving can really add up across a city, ranging from $2.3 billion in Chicago to an astounding $19 billion a year in New York City . This “green dividend” means that residents can spend that money in other ways, such as housing, restaurants, and entertainment, that keep money circulating in the local economy. And it’s not just big cities that see these impacts: in Wisconsin, economic benefits from public transit alone are $730 million.

Providing the infrastructure for people to get to work by walking, biking or taking transit can provide a boost to the economy in other ways, too: traffic congestion costs businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area over $2 billion a year due to time employees spent stuck in traffic, and the total cost of congestion in the Los Angeles region tops $1.1 billion each year. A Complete Streets approach has the power to recapture some of that cost.

Local businesses see many benefits in improving access to people traveling by foot or bicycle. When a bike lane was added along Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission district, nearby businesses saw sales increase by 60 percent, which merchants attributed to increased pedestrian and bicycle activity. Similarly, a study in Toronto showed that nearly three-quarters of merchants along Bloor Street expected that better bicycle and pedestrian facilities would improve business.

Implementing Complete Streets policies can have economic benefits even before the projects are finished. Road improvement projects that include bike and pedestrian facilities create more jobs during construction than those that are only designed for vehicles, per dollar spent. Adding or improving transit facilities is good for jobs, too. During the recent economic downturn, each stimulus dollar invested in a public transportation project created twice as many jobs as one spent on a highway project.

Better bicycle infrastructure can create jobs directly, too. Cycling adds over $556 million and 3,400 jobs to Wisconsin’s economy through increased tourism, bicycle manufacturing, sales and repair, bike tours, and other activities. Similarly, there’s a $90 million benefit to the city’s economy from Portland, Oregon’s bicycling industry , and the state of Colorado reaps a benefit of over $1 billion each year from bicycle manufacturing, retail, and tourism.

Complete Streets spur private investment

The investment that communities make in implementing Complete Streets policies can stimulate far greater private investment, especially in retail districts and downtowns where pedestrians and cyclists feel unwelcome. In Washington, D.C., design improvements along a three-quarter mile corridor in Barracks Row, including new patterned sidewalks and traffic signals, helped attract 44 new businesses and 200 new jobs, along with increases in sales and foot traffic. Lancaster, California added pedestrian safety features as part of a downtown revitalization effort, including a pedestrian-only plaza, wider sidewalks, landscaping and traffic calming. The project spurred $125 million in private investment, a 26% increase in sales tax revenue, and 800 new jobs, after a public investment of $10.6 million. And in Mountain View, California, the addition of space for sidewalk cafes and a redesign of the street for pedestrians were followed by private investment of $150 million, including residential, retail and offices, resulting in a vibrant downtown destination.

Complete Streets raise property values

Complete Streets policies lead to networks of streets that are safe and accessible for people on foot or riding bikes, which in turn raises property values. In a survey of 15 real estate markets from Jacksonville, Florida to Stockton, California a one-point increase in the walkability of a neighborhood as measured by WalkScore.com increased home values by $700 to $3,000. For neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. region, becoming one step more walkable on a five-point scale can add $9 per square foot to retail rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values. This increase is amplified when walkable neighborhoods are near each other , demonstrating the value of networks of Complete Streets connected throughout a community.

The preference for walkable neighborhoods is likely to increase in coming decades, too, as today’s young college graduates flock to downtowns and close-in suburbs. The population of college-educated 25 to 34 year olds in these walkable neighborhoods has increased by 26% in the last decade , creating a workforce that can further add to economic growth in these communities.

It’s not just sidewalks: bike paths add value to neighboring properties as well. One North Carolina neighborhood saw property values rise $5,000 due to a nearby bikeway, while research showed that bike paths in Delaware could be expected to add $8,800 to neighboring home values. Even design elements like street trees can raise property values. Having trees on the street in front of homes in Portland, Oregon added more than $7,000 to selling prices.

Even with higher housing prices, walkable neighborhoods are good for working families. People living in communities that give them the option to walk, bike or take transit to their destinations often pay less in total housing and transportation costs than those who live in areas with lower housing prices that are more auto-dependent. When coupled with programs to maintain access to affordable housing, families of all incomes can realize the economic benefits of Complete Streets.

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Piqua Firefighter Eric Wood

Eric Woods Family

Here’s a recent article written by Mike Ullery of the Piqua Daily Call.  This article reflects the quality of personnel that work for the City of Piqua.

PIQUA — Piqua firefighter Eric Wood was inducted into the Ohio Firefighters Hall of Fame at the State Fire Academy in Columbus on Wednesday.

Wood’s induction follows his earning the Ohio Medal of Valor for his actions during a structure fire in January 2011. According to Piqua Fire Department accounts, during the house fire, Wood and fellow firefighter Jim Drieling “were inside a residential structure fire, charged with heavy smoke, on a report of a basement fire. Drieling fell through an open hatch door in the floor of a kitchen, hanging above the fire. Wood called on the radio for a ‘Mayday’ but there was an issue with his radio and other firefighters did not receive the ‘Mayday’ call. Wood single-handedly rescued his fellow firefighter and extinguished the basement fire.”

The Medal of Valor is given to firefighters who “place themselves, at great personal risk and saving another life during an extreme emergency, above and beyond the call of duty.”

Wood is the sixth Piqua firefighter to earn the Medal of Valor. The others are Brent Pohlschnider, Bob Bloom, John Stevens, all of whom are still serving, along with retired firefighters Bruce Wilcox and Steve Hamant.

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ICMA Code of Ethics

ICMA

I will be traveling to the ICMA Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina later this week and this reminds me of a very important aspect of my job.  As a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), I am required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, originally adopted in 1924 and periodically amended, that serves as the foundation of the local government management profession and standard of excellence.  Members of ICMA pledge to uphold these principles in their personal conduct and decision-making for the communities they serve.

I am very proud to be part of a professional organization that strongly promotes ethical behavior, conduct, and governance.  Below are the tenets that guide my everyday approach to serving as the City Manager of Piqua.

The mission of ICMA is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional local government management worldwide. To further this mission, certain principles, as enforced by the Rules of Procedure, shall govern the conduct of every member of ICMA, who shall:

Tenet 1

Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

Tenet 2

Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

Tenet 3

Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.

Tenet 4

Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

Tenet 5

Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

Tenet 6

Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

Tenet 7

Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators.  Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Tenet 8

Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

Tenet 9

Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Tenet 10

Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

Tenet 11

Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

Tenet 12

Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.

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New South Main Street Lane Configuration

South Main

You may have noticed the new lane configuration on South Main Street that has recently been installed.  The new configuration provides for a center turn lane and bike lanes.  These lane alignments are recommended by the Department of Transportation and have proven to reduce accidents and provide a much safer transportation system.  This configuration is sometimes referred to as a “Road Diet”.

The center lane allows for vehicles to make turns into businesses without being in a travel lane.  Especially on a foggy morning, it reduces the possibility of coming upon a stopped vehicle trying to turn.  The additional bike lanes allow for workers who bike to work to travel more safely in the designated lanes.  Businesses in this area requested these types of changes to help improve the safety of drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.

I understand that change is sometimes difficult for a community, but these types of changes are needed, not only for safety, but to attract young professionals, skilled workers, new business, and visitors to Piqua.

To help you understand the benefits of the changes being made, I’m posting some of the misconceptions of the impacts and debunking the myths.

“The roadway was designed as four lanes due to the traffic volumes and reducing the thru lanes from two to one in each direction will increase congestion.”

  • Traffic engineering studies have demonstrated that on roads used by fewer than 20,000 vehicles per day, road diets have a minimal or positive impact on vehicle capacity.  The traffic volume on Co Rd 25-A south of Piqua is 6,200 vehicles per day.

“The new striping will increase crashes.”

  • Road diets decrease by 70 percent the frequency of people driving more than 5 mph over the speed limit and actually reduce rear-end collisions and sideswipe crashes by slowing vehicle speeds.  Research indicates the implementation of a road diet will result in a 19 to 47 percent reduction in crashes.

“Road diets are bad for business.”

  • Road diets result in slower speeds, better sight lines and are safer for both through vehicles and local traffic, and center-turn lanes provide motorists with an easier and safer way to make right and left turns, including for entering and exiting driveways.

“Road diets slow down emergency responders.”

  • A road diet accommodates emergency vehicles without increasing response times.  Drivers can pull into bicycle lanes to move out of the way, and a center turn lane can be used by responders needing to pass other vehicles.

“People don’t like road diets.”

  • With thousands of road diets completed nationwide, there are few reports of any being reversed.  On the contrary, road diets are proving to be effective, safe and popular.  Many communities are reporting that many residents often initially oppose road diets; however, after completion they find that nearly 95 percent of residents are supportive of the changes.

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Police and Fire Public Safety Levy

Fire & Police 2

A Public Safety Income Tax Levy will be on the ballot this November for Piqua voters to decide whether to approve an increase in funding for the Police and Fire Departments.  The 0.25% increase would generate an additional $1 million to be used solely for police and fire operations and equipment.

Over the past few years, the State of Ohio has reduced funding to local governments which has impacted the City of Piqua by an annual amount of $500,000.  In addition, the state eliminated the Estate Tax which generated as much as $1 million annually for the City of Piqua that helped fund these departments.  These funding reductions resulted in Police Officer and Firefighter positions not being filled and equipment replacement delayed.  The city was fortunate to receive a SAFER grant in 2013 which funded six (6) Firefighters for a two year period.  That grant will end in March 2015.

A citizens group, Citizens for Public Safety, is supporting the levy and providing information to voters about why the additional funding is needed.  Below are specific questions and answers to help address citizen inquiries that have been prepared by the Citizens for Public Safety.

Q: How will the additional tax revenue from the 0.25% public safety income tax increase be utilized?

A: The increased revenue will pay for the addition of FIVE new Police Officers and retention of the SIX Firefighters currently funded through the SAFER Grant.  It will generate approximately $1 million annually. Any remaining funds will go to operation and equipment needs.

Q: Who will and will not be paying this additional income tax?

A: City income tax is NOT collected on income from social security, pensions, unemployment benefits, military pay, public assistance, or alimony received.  In addition, interest, dividends, and capital gains are NOT taxed.

Q: How serious a problem is crime in Piqua and how do we compare to other cities our size?

A: The City of Piqua belongs to an organization which allows us to compare Piqua to other municipalities across the United States.  Piqua has one of the highest property crime rates in the nation for communities our size.  Piqua had 1,056 property crimes in 2013 compared to the national average of 342.  In Ohio, Piqua has the 7th highest rate of forcible rape of all cities, and the HIGHEST for a city our size in the nation.  Piqua is routinely higher than similar cities in the number of alcohol-related and theft-related crimes.  In 2013, Piqua Police Officers accounted for about 18% of all law enforcement officers in the county, but filed 23% of the criminal charges in Miami County Municipal Court.

Q: Will salaries of current members of the Police and fire Departments be increased?

A: NO. The additional levy funding will not increase salaries for either department.

Q: Why do the Fire and Police Departments need the additional staffing?

A: In short, the additional staffing is about keeping the community/neighborhoods safe and protecting families.  Crime rates are up in Piqua resulting in the highest rate of property crimes in the nation for a community our size.  Piqua also has one of the highest forcible rape rates in the state and nation.  The Police Department is called upon to deal with problems related to decreased jail space, fewer mental health resources, and inadequate recovery programming for those suffering from substance abuse addictions. Our Fire Department has experienced an annual increase in emergency runs in recent years.  Emergency calls/runs increased 20% from 2012 to 2013.

Q: How does the Piqua Police Department compare to other departments in our area in terms of staffing and budget?

  • The Piqua Police Department has 30 sworn officers;
  • Piqua ranks in the lowest 20% of cities for police staffing;
  • Troy and Sidney generally operate with six to 10 MORE officers than Piqua’;
  • The average population for cities in Ohio with a similar number of officers (30) is 4,000 fewer citizens than Piqua;
  • Our Police Department compares operation and maintenance costs to other cities on a per-capita basis. In 2012, our budget was $196 per citizen while the average for a city our size was $206;
  • As a city with a high crime rate and low staffing levels, police officers handle many more crime investigations than officers in other police departments. This limits time for patrol and proactive policing which is what contributes to lowering crime rates and helping citizens feel safe.

 

How does the Piqua Fire Department compare to other departments in our area in terms of staffing, budgets, and number of runs?

 

 

  • The Piqua Fire Department has 32 Firefighters/Paramedics (including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $4,053,708; and received 4,044 emergency calls in 2013;
  • The Sidney Fire Department has 34 Firefighters/Paramedics(including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $4.5 million; and received 3,126 emergency calls in 2013;
  • The Troy Fire Department has 38 Firefighters/Paramedics (including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $5.1 million, and received 8,561 emergency calls in 2013 – – NOTE: The Troy Fire Department, with multiple stations and staffing, sends a fire vehicle as a chase for EMS assistance and records these instances as BOTH a fire and an EMS run while Piqua Fire Department utilizes a chase vehicle but only records as ONE run.

Q: Will the police and fire departments share equally in the additional funds?

A: Yes, but funding may vary from year to year based on each department’s need at a future time.

Q: Why are the citizens of Piqua being asked to increase the city income tax?

A: Purely for the safety of the community and our families.  The additional personnel allows for quicker fire and emergency responses, and to fight and deter the growing crime incidents.

Q: What has the city done to save money for the public safety departments?

A: The city has eliminated vacant positions, deferred pay increases, obtained  grants to purchase needed equipment, conducted performance measurement to find savings, and reduced operating budgets.

Q: What have the unions in these departments done to save money for the departments?

A: The unions have agreed to eliminate pay increases and operation changes, absorb increases in health insurance costs, assist with grant writing to obtain funding for operations and equipment, and find cost savings for the departments.

Q: What was the use of the SAFER Grant for the past two years? Why can’t the SAFER Grant be renewed and why was the funding spent totally on personnel?

A: The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) provided funding directly to fire departments to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” Firefighters available in their communities.  The goal of SAFER was to help the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency.  The grant funding is specific and had to be used for salary and benefits and only for a two-year period.  The SAFER grant was only to be used as a bridge to temporarily hire Firefighters until permanent funding can be obtained.  The Fire Department applied for the SAFER grant in August of 2012. Permanent funding was sought from a Public Safety Levy in November of 2012 which failed.  SAFER grants are not renewable. 

Q: What additional services have come from the SAFER Grant and how will they be impacted by the passage or failure of the income tax increase?

A: The SAFER grant’s major impact is SAFETY.  Inadequate staffing levels expose citizens to increased risks, drains the Fire Department limited resources, and stresses the emergency response system.  There is a direct correlation between decreasing crew size and an increase in expected life, property, and economic losses for citizens.  The additional Firefighters help Piqua meet the minimum recognized standard of 15 Firefighters on the scene of a structure fire and increase our ability to fight fires and rescue victims.  Prior to the SAFER funding, the department had 19 documented fire responses in 2011 where fewer than four Firefighters were available; 11 incidents involved two or fewer firefighters, and three incidents which resulted in no fire units available to respond and relying initially on mutual aid.  This would be the reality of a failure of the levy.

Q: What will this increase cost a citizen working or living in Piqua?

A: A citizen with an earned income of $30,000 a year will pay an additional $75.00 per year or $1.44 per week.

Q: What constitutes a run for Fire and Police? Is accompanying the police considered a fire call/run?

A: The Fire Department statistically tracks runs based on the nature of the call and information received through the emergency system.  It is not the policy of the Fire Department to accompany the Police Department, but if requested, it would be recorded as a run based on the type of assistance needed (medical or fire).  Police agencies tend to shy away from “calls-for-service” comparisons due to the broad range of definitions of a “call.”  The Police Department is always advised of Fire/EMS runs, but rarely accompanies the Fire Department unless the address is known to be dangerous or the type of run indicates both a crime and an injury have occurred.

Q: Why did the Fire Department accept a grant to hire six firefighters for only two years knowing we would need more money to keep them beyond that time?

A: Solely to provide the best fire and emergency service to the community and the protection of Piqua citizens/families.  The additional staffing allows for quicker response to multiple calls and reduces overtime costs by almost 50 percent.

Q: Some communities employ part-time firefighters to be called in fire emergencies and has this been considered or should it?

A: It has been considered, but although this may work in large urban areas, this is not the best service option for Piqua.  Part-time employees must constantly be replaced or may not be available to work or respond when really needed.

Q: In our current weak economy, most people have been forced to cut budgets. How has this been done by our Police and Fire Departments?

A: Both departments have eliminated positions, reduced operating budgets, eliminated pay increases, absorbed additional health insurance costs, and sought grants and donations to provide operational and equipment needs.  In addition, decrease of command staff and salaries, implementing user fees, reduced medic crew size, and elimination of training has taken place.

Q: How will passing the public safety levy make us safer?

A: The only way to fight some crime is to have police present or available.  The same applies to fire and emergency responses.  The additional personnel enable the departments to respond sooner and more effectively.

Q: If the levy passes, will Police do “Neighborhood Policing” and will they be more visible on the streets and in neighborhoods?

A: Increasing the number of Police Officers makes them more visible and visibility makes people feel safer.  With approval of the levy, the Police Department would continue and expand its current PROTECT Piqua Program. Beyond the perception of safety, the Piqua Police Department has adopted an “Intelligence Led, Victim Driven” philosophy.  When intelligence sources allow prediction of a crime in a specific neighborhood, the levy would provide more time to work with residents of that neighborhood on notification and prevention.

Q: What has the city done to find grants and other sources to replace the SAFER Grant?

A: All city staff and departments constantly seek grants to assist with every aspect of city government.  In 2013, over $5 million was received from grants, donations, and outside revenue sources.  Unfortunately, only the federal government provides grants to local governments for fire and police personnel.

 

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Great Economic Development News for Piqua

Rick James Dealership

The following article is reprinted from the Dayton Business Journal.  This long time vacant property which housed the Rick James Dealership is being converted to a Retail/Business Park.  We look forward to working with the Baker Family to help them fulfill their vision for this site.

Rick James Dealership Site
Senior Reporter- Dayton Business Journal

A business owner in Sidney purchased a Piqua former vehicle dealership and plans to convert it into an office and industrial center.

Thom Baker and sons Adam and Matthew formed ATM Investments LLC to purchase the former 55,000-square-foot Chevrolet dealership at 8654 N. County Road 25A in Piqua. Baker owns Wappoo Wood Products in Sidney.

Baker plans to convert the site into a 14,000-square-foot retail or office space and a 36,000-square-foot industrial facility, with hopes of attracting new employers to the area.

The project will create opportunities for area businesses to help construct the facilities, plus it will add more retail options for consumers as well as a new location for relocating companies.

“Piqua is fortunate to have local entrepreneurs that are willing to take the risk to purchase vacant facilities and turn them back into income producing properties,” said Tim Echemann, the broker with Industrial Property Brokers who represented the seller and will continue to market the property for lease. “We have a high level of interest in leasing the property now that a new owner is in place.”

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